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My Honest Review and Opinion of JapanesePod101

Howdy people, my name is Thomas. I’m a blogger and huge Japanese enthusiast. Today I’m going to review www.JapanesePod101.com and give you guys a 100% honest opinion on it. I am not being paid or otherwise compensated for this, and all opinions are my own. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m brutally honest and blunt, so I won’t pull punches in a review. That said, enjoy.

honest review of japanesepod101.com

My first impression of JapanesePod101.com was that it looked a lot like what I had come to expect from language learning sites, from Rosetta Stone to Duolingo, I knew the drill and the layout of the main page was the same, bare-bones info page that I always see when I go to a site with a landing page that tries to get you to sign up right away. By comparison, ILL’s main site is much more informative about the company and their services, and actually convinced me to try them out in the first place. Perhaps I’m just too jaded to be taken in like many consumers by a simple ad. I want more info than what they share with their marketing spin all over it. I want facts, features, simply stated and without divisive wording so present in marketing pitches.

The negatives pretty much stop there. This service is wonderful! After signing up, you get a straight-talk offer to get a huge upgrade for a dollar of bandwidth. I took the offer, naturally, though I later had an issue with backing out of the $25 a month subscription it signed me up on. I didn’t realize I could just change my settings for the auto-renewal. It is enabled by default, but when I forgot, they were good about refunding me. I had my money back within a week, not bad for communicating across the globe to do it.

japanesepod101 video and audio lessons

The dashboard takes a bit to get used to, but once you figure out what everything does and where it all leads, it is extremely useful and well-designed, though I would prefer if the lesson videos and series videos were organized the same way. I found that I could find some lessons through the actual lessons tab, and others by picking through the series videos. Maybe I just got turned around in the interface but I didn’t feel like I had a good way to get a singular overview of every single lesson to know how much they covered.

Now we come to the best part, and the reason why I truly endorse JapanesePod101.com. The lessons themselves. Oh, my, god. These people know how to teach Japanese. The videos don’t just teach vocabulary and hope you can pick up the pronunciation by imitation like Rosetta Stone tries to. And unlike that same product, which I used before, JPod never talks down to you or treats you like a child. Rosetta Stone seriously showed me juice and milk to teach me how to say the Japanese words ジュース&ぎゅうにゅう one of which is just the same word in katakana, which they don’t explain, and the other is never used anymore, instead they use the katakana’d version of it too! Not JPod, they treat you like an intelligent student right off the bat, explaining the basic structure of the language and rolling it right into vocab.

japanesepod101 vocabulary lists

I loved how Risa explained a lot of the concepts, and much to my pleasant surprise, they didn’t just cover lists of words and pronunciation, though they have tons of word lists and very good pronunciation guides. No, my favorite part is that they covered grammar! You have no idea how much, as a student who learned under tutors and college for all of my Japanese learning journey up to now, how infuriating it is to not have the grammar explained! If you know conjugations of verbs, you can teach yourself so many words just from hearing them and reverse engineering them to dictionary form! Risa does an amazing job of walking you through the grammar points and makes them not feel so scary as grammar was for many people who hated taking English.

One big negative that I have to nick them for though, is the teaching style. Now I’m not talking about the lessons themselves, I mean the overall organization of the lessons. Because you can freely float around between lessons, they don’t build upon each other. I am only in semester 3 of Japanese, and I could hop into Advanced and while I didn’t necessarily find it stuff I already knew, I had no difficulty understanding the lessons and mastering the content. If I tried to do that with a college course, I’d get lost very fast. That sounds like a positive at first, but the problem is that you can’t push your students if you make everything somewhat accessible to people with a good grip on the language already. Perhaps they have more structured or difficult content in other areas, but the lessons from Absolute Beginner through Advanced seemed to have no difficulty curve at all which means they wouldn’t push me to get better.

japanesepod101 resources learn japanese

It’s a delicate balance, trying to appeal to masses while also pushing every one of those people to “git gud”, believe me, I know. But in the business of teaching language, you have to make a decision on whether you’ll push your users or make everything more accessible to them so they can learn more content easier. I feel like if the lessons were more rigidly structured in points and built upon previous lessons it would work better. Perhaps if it was organized more like a game where you progress down a linear path but have branches where you can head off into side paths of learning and explore things that are at the same level as what you’re learning now, it would be more effective.

Honestly, I would love to see JPod get into Tangential Learning and “gamify” their content a bit. This IS on the internet after all, most people are used to games from their phones and tablets by now, so they won’t be unfamiliar to basic game UI. That said, this is getting a bit more into “I wish” territory.

All in all, I would highly recommend JPod for anyone interested in learning a language from the ground up or as preparation to get into college courses. It is far better than most of the other kinds of software and websites I have been to, mostly because the videos are very well organized and presented, with comprehensive learning material teaching the basic workings of the language as well as the grammar structures along with vocabulary.

Like Thomas, give it a try and create a Free Lifetime Account, get started learning Japanese and share your review with us!

Take the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge and Get a Box of Japanese Treats!

Hi dear Japanese Learners!

Mastering the Japanese language is a real adventure, but just by being on this page you’re proving to us that you’re not afraid of facing some challenges. You’re a perfect match for the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge!

super sushi ninja challenge japanesepod101

Start learning Japanese with your own Japanese teacher with your Premium PLUS account!


Contents:
  1. What is the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge?
  2. How to Apply for the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge
  3. How to Order Sushi in Japanese
  4. Must-Know Japanese Vocabulary when Ordering Sushi
  5. What is Premium PLUS?


1. What is the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge? Top

The goal of the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge is to get you speaking Japanese in a real life situation, so we challenge you to go to a sushi restaurant, or any restaurant that serves sushi, and record yourself ordering sushi in Japanese! Quite simple, isn’t it?

You will have until Monday, August 8th to send us your video. And because we believe every challenge deserve rewards, participants will receive:

  • An extremely rare Sushi Ninja Badge only Premium PLUS users can earn
  • A chance at winning a box full of Japanese treats!
  • Super Sushi Ninja Badge

    2. How to Apply for the Super Sushi Ninja Challenge Top

  • For Premium PLUS users: You just have to upload your video using the My Teacher chat window.
  • For all other Japanese learners: Email your submissions to plus@japanesepod101.com.
  • We will announce the big winner on Tuesday, August 9th and post the winning video on Facebook and Twitter!

    3. How to Order Sushi in Japanese Top

    Do you know the names of Japanese sushi items? Want to ask for soy sauce?
    Click here to learn the Japanese words you must know before going into a Sushi restaurant!

    Risa teaches you the 5 most commonly ordered sushi items!

    If you need some inspiration, here are some examples from JapanesePod101 team members!


    You can also record yourself ordering sushi like this:


    Or Click here to listen

    4. Must-Know Japanese Vocabulary when Ordering Sushi Top

    When you want to get the attention of the sushi chef, yell out loud…
    すいません!(Suimasen!)

    When ordering, use the phrase meaning “give me,”….
    〜お願いします(onegai shimasu)

    Also, there are some special counters for sushi!
    〜丁(ちょう) - the counter for the food dishes
    〜貫(かん) - the counter for sushi. That refers to “one ball” of sushi.

    Peter ordered by saying…
    トロサーモン一つお願いします。(Torosāmon hitotsu onegai shimasu.)

    Yuki ordered by saying…
    すいません、ヤリイカ三貫と、中トロ一丁!(Suimasen, yariika san-kan to, chūtoro itchō!)

    Are you up for the challenge? I hope so! Make sure to get it to us by the deadline in order to receive your exclusive badge on My Teacher as well as your chance at winning the box of Japanese treats! So get your cameras ready, learners!

    5. What is Premium PLUS? Top

    Not familiar with the JapanesePod101 Premium PLUS account? Here are the reasons why you should you go for it!

    - Professional Assessment
    All aspects of your Japanese (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) will be assessed by a professionally trained teaching team. You get started on a learning program that will maximize your progress.

    - A Personalized Learning Program
    A tailor-made study plan is designed to suit your needs and take your progress to the next level. The customized self-study program may be just what you need to get over a hurdle and really master this language fast.

    - 1-on-1 instruction
    Got a question that only a native speaker can answer? Our world class Japanese experts are available exclusively to you via our on-site app, My Teacher. You will have direct contact with a dedicated teacher who will promptly answer any question and correspond with you to ensure your Japanese skills improve rapidly.

    Click here to upgrade to Premium PLUS and learn Japanese with a teacher!

    4 Reasons Why Japanese Slang Words Will Make You Fluent

    Learn 4 honest reasons you need Japanese slang words and why they are so vital to truly learning and mastering the language.

    Teachers may normally cringe at the thought of their students learning Japanese slang words. After all, slang words and phrases are typically defined as being grammatically incorrect. So why would your teacher want you to spend time learning the “wrong way” to speak Japanese? Here are 4 of the top reasons why you should study slang words and expressions when learning Japanese or any new language.

    reasons to learn japanese slang words

    Create Your Free Lifetime Account and Start Learning the whole Japanese Language from the Beginning!

    1. Native Speakers Use Slang Expressions in Everyday Conversation

    If you are going to study a foreign language and plan to use it to speak with native speakers, then you have to learn slang words and expressions. Otherwise, just using formal expressions and grammar may alienate you from native speakers and make it more difficult to establish a real connection. So it is best to at least learn some common slang words and expressions if you’re planning to meet or speak socially with someone.

    2. Slang Words Are Used All Throughout Japanese Culture

    If you turn on any popular Japanese TV show, listen to any song, or watch any movie, you are quickly going to see the value of learning Japanese slang phrases. Just like everyday conversations between native speakers, Japanese culture is filled with slang phrases and expressions. Without at least some knowledge of the more common slang phrases, popular culture and most conversations will be very confusing and potentially alienating.

    Want to Amaze Native Speaker? Be a Good Lover? Our Vocabulary Lists are Made for You!

    3. Slang Expressions Help You Better Express Your True Thoughts and Feelings

    Only relying on formal grammar and vocabulary is very limiting, especially in social situations. Just like in your native language, using the appropriate Japanese slang words can help you express a broader range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

    4. Proper Use of Slang Makes You Sound More Natural

    We’ve all met foreigners who technically used formal language perfectly but still sounded odd and well….foreign. But when you use the right slang words and expressions, you will sound more natural and like a true native speaker. If you notice, even most politicians include a sprinkling of slang expressions and words throughout their speeches to help them sound more natural and to better connect with the audience.

    The Dark Side of Slang Expressions

    Learning Japanese slang words can indeed help you sound more natural, better understand the people and culture, and make integration much easier. However, there is a dark side: using the wrong slang expressions can also make you look foolish, uneducated, and potentially disrespectful.

    But how do you know which slang words or phrases to use and when?

    The truth is that you can’t learn the most modern and appropriate slang words in textbooks or formal classroom settings. By the time the information gets incorporated into a formal curriculum, it’s already outdated and no longer in use by actual Japanese people. And while you can learn current slang expressions from Japanese TV shows, movies, songs, and games, you may not understand the context. If that happens, you may use the right Japanese slang words but in the wrong situation and still look like a fool or possibly even offend someone.

    Step out from the darkness and Get Your FREE PDF eBook to Master 1500 Kanji easiliy

    So where can you learn current slang expressions and the right context in which to use them?

    At JapanesePod101, native speaking instructors create audio and video lessons that can include slang expressions and words. Our instructors provide context and examples for all the Japanese slang words used in any lesson to make sure students understand the right time and place to use them.

    Japanese slang words and expressions may be grammatically incorrect but they are vital to truly understanding and immersing yourself in the culture. In fact, it will be very difficult to fully understand any movie, TV show, song, game, or even 1-on-1 conversation without knowing a few of the more common slang expressions.

    However, it is important to learn the proper context and use of even popular slang expressions or you may come across as confusing, disrespectful, or uneducated.
    At JapanesePod101, you’ll learn how to use slang phrases and words to draw the right attention and avoid these problems.

    Don’t forget to sign up for a Free Lifetime Account on JapanesePod101.com to access tons of FREE lessons and features to become fluent in Japanese!

    Slang phrases Part II

    Slang vocab!

    Ever since we published our last post about slang adjectives, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for more lessons and videos about Japanese slang vocabulary. As we mentioned, taking the time to understand slang and informal speech will boost your communication and language skills, and save a whole lot of confusion. Slang will allow you to use language in a current, useful way. No amount of time in class can prepare you for the contemporary nuances you’ll be faced with when you put your language knowledge to practical use out in the real world.

    Learning one Japanese word a day is an easy, fast and FREE way to master Japanese. Check it out!

    In this post, we’ll cover common slang verbs that are used every day in Japan!

    1. オールする (ōru suru): to hang out all night

    Hang out all night

    金曜日の夜にオールしました。
    Kin-yōbi no yoru ni ōru shimashita.
    I did hang out all night on Friday night.

    2. パニクる (panikuru): to get into a panic

    Panic!

    どうしよう。パニクる。
    Dōshiyō. Panikuru.
    Oh my god. I’m in a panic.

    Start learning Japanese from the beginning with our Absolute Beginner series!

    3. 爆睡する (bakusui sure): to sleep deeply

    sleep deeply

    授業中に爆睡しました。
    Jugyō chū ni bakusui shimashita.
    I slept deeply in class

    4. イケてる (iketeru): cool

    cool

    その新しいネクタイかっこいいね!イケてますよ。
    Sono atarashii nekutai kakkoii ne! Iketemasu yo.
    I like your new tie. It’s cool.

    Learn the 25 Most common phrases that We Use in Japan every day!

    5. シカトする (shikato suru): to ignore

    To ignore

    都合の悪い言葉が聞こえて、シカトしてく
    ださい。
    Tsugō no warui kotoba ga kikoete, shikato shite kudasai.

    Please ignore when you hear something you don’t want to hear.

    For more lessons, video tutorials, quizzes and learning materials, don’t forget to visit www.japanesepod101.com and sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and enjoy our content!

    How to Learn Japanese in Your Car?

    Stuck in traffic? Losing time in your car? Have you ever felt that in all this wasted time, you could have watched the 750 episodes of One Piece, finished the last Super Mario ten times, or even better…you could have learned Japanese? Between family, friends and work, in addition to this time-consuming commute, it can become difficult to find time to properly learn Japanese.

    How to Learn Japanese in Your Car? Learn language in car

    Fortunately, every problem has a solution, and what could be a better solution than turning that commute time into learning time? Stop passing the time mindlessly listening to the radio and try some of our best tips for mastering Japanese in your car!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Mb2Qgu6RbzYlByU/giphy.gif

    Here are the 5 reasons why you should start learning Japanese!

    You can learn Japanese in your car, hands free
    While driving, it’s important that you keep your focus on the road, so this is why our top tips won’t require you to use your hands!

    Listening to Japanese audio content in the car is a good way to learn
    This is because it is a fun and efficient way to learn. With JapanesePod101.com podcasts, you will be able to discover Japanese culture through topics about everyday life. Instead of the radio, listen to a Japanese podcast adapted to your level, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and you will make progress sooner that you would expect!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/pXsF2CgWoiel2/giphy.gif

    You can listen to Japanese music in the car
    Did you know that you can learn Japanese by singing while driving? Listen to songs from anime or Japanese idols and try to identify some words you learned.

    You can also go to our YouTube Channel and play our Kids’ Songs playlist! Challenge yourself! Use the Japanese you’ve studied up to this point and see how much you understand! Making the jump to real-life Japanese is a scary one, but friendly children’s songs are a great place to start!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/gPPA7RUH34HSg/giphy.gif

    Click here to listen to our Top 10 Songs for Children To Learn Japanese!

    You can learn alone in your car
    When you’re driving alone, you can be as loud as you want – there is nothing better for remembering your Japanese lessons than repeating loudly, again and again. Next time you see a driver who seems to be talking alone, you will know he or she is just learning Japanese!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/uSXTDFYDWpelW/giphy.gif

    You can learn through repetition with your passengers
    If there are passengers in the car, it can be more stimulating to learn together. You can set a role play with Japanese dialogues. With JapanesePod101.com, you can download all the lessons transcript including the dialogues, as a PDF. Print it out and have some fun speaking in Japanese!

    One of the passengers can answer the quiz available on each of our lessons, while another can correct that person. Listening to someone at a more advanced level of Japanese or a better accent is positive and helps you improve.

    You can learn Japanese offline
    Do you have a poor connection or are unable to use the Internet? It’s not a problem for learning Japanese! Before you start your commute, use our App to download the lessons you want to study and the podcast you want to listen to in your car, and you will be able to enjoy your lessons offline. Entering a tunnel won’t be a problem anymore. What a pleasure to listen to audio content without having the host freezing every 5 seconds!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/yjos61Qgsy17q/giphy.gif

    Click here to download the App and learn offline!

    You can learn every day at your own pace
    One of the best approaches for learning a language is little by little and often. It’s not efficient to take in a huge amount of information at one time. What you need is to study on a regular basis – a little bit of Japanese every day. You commute several days a week, and that is all time you can take advantage of!

    You have the freedom to choose the lessons and podcasts you want to focus on, at your own rhythm. You may want to do a little revision or discover how to talk about a new topic. And if you’re wondering what to learn next, you can use the new Learning Paths, which is our customized pathway feature that gives you a step-by-step way to learn Japanese without getting lost!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/rdma0nDFZMR32/giphy.gif

    Click here to access Learning Paths at JapanesePod101!

    If you don’t have a car and commute by another method, these tips are still valid! Learning Japanese is no longer limited to the classroom or your house; there are so many benefits to learning in your car or elsewhere. Reaching a conversational level will take you less time than you could ever have imagined! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and enjoy our content!

    The Top 10 Words You’ll Hear In Anime!

    Click here to learn Japanese

    Hey Listeners!

    Are you a big fan of anime? Then this is the list for you!

    There are thousands of different words that are spoken in anime these days. Too many to count. However, there are certain words that have a funny way of showing up in many different series! Today, you’ll learn the top 10 words that you’re sure to hear while watching your favorite anime shows!

    Click Here To Start Learning Japanese For FREE!

    1. Kawaii (かわいい)
    Definition: Cute, Adorable

    This is a word that is constantly used in Japanese culture. It basically describes anything that can be seen as cute, such as a stuffed animal or a pretty dress!

    2. Sugoi (すごい)
    Definition: Amazing, great

    You’ll often hear this word when a character is surprised or impressed! It can convey the same meaning as “amazing” or “superb.”

    Click Here To Learn Japanese Now!
    3. Senpai (先輩)
    Definition: Someone who is your senior, most commonly at school or in the workplace

    In many shows, the main character often has an older friend. This leads to the frequent use of this word. The popular phrase “Notice me, senpai!” also plays on the frequent use of the word.

    4. Baka (ばか)
    Definition: Idiot, stupid

    Usually used in a playful manner, this word is used to describe someone as “dumb” or “an idiot.” This is usually said in an attempt to poke fun at the main character.

    5. Oniisan (お兄さん)
    Definition: Older brother

    The anime shows of today feature an abundance of older brothers, so this is one that’s sure to come up quite often. It is almost always used by the little sister character in the show.

    Get Your FREE Lifetime Account & Start Learning Japanese Now!

    6. Daijōbu (大丈夫)
    Definition: Okay, good

    Often used in a way similar to the phrase “it’s going to be alright,” this word essentially means “okay” and is frequently used when a character is trying to cheer someone else up!

    7. Imōto (妹)
    Definition: Younger sister

    Many shows feature a younger sister character, hence the popularity of this word.

    Click Here To Start Learning Japanese For FREE!
    8. Tomodachi (友達)
    Definition: Friend

    A simple word meaning “friend” or “friends.” This is quite common, since of course, anime is filled with lots of friendship!

    9. Ureshiii (嬉しい)
    Definition: Happy, glad

    You’ll often hear this word when a character is extremely happy or relieved! For example, it is often used when a character thinks that someone is angry with them, but then finds out otherwise.

    10. Otaku (おたく)
    Definition: Someone who is obsessed with something, usually referring to anime/manga

    This is a common term that is usually applied to fans of anime, manga, and even video games.

    Start Learning Japanese & Watch Your Favorite Shows Without Subtitles!

    How many of these words did you already know? Remember, these are just the most common words that you’re likely to come across. If you want to start understanding more of your favorite shows, sign up for a FREE lifetime account and start studying with us today!

    Learn More Japanese By Clicking Here & Signing Up For A FREE Account!

    Did you know 食べ物 (tabe-mono) means Food?

    Did you know 食べ物 (tabe-mono) means Food?

    Here are the words picked by Risa:

    • お菓子 - sweets
    • 豚肉 - pork
    • ご飯 - rice

    Learn more about Japanese food!

    Click here and learn more words with Risa!

    P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Japanese with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
    The Daily Dose of Japanese is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Japanese over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Japanese Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

    Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Japanese Calendar.

    Have you been to 松島 (Matsushima)?

    Have you been to 松島 (Matsushima)?

    Matsushima (松島) is a group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. There are some 260 tiny islands (shima) covered in pines (matsu) . Therefore, it’s named Matsushima.

    松島にカモメがたくさんいます。(Matsushima ni kamome ga takusan imasu): Many seagulls are on Matsushima.

    P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Japanese with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
    The Daily Dose of Japanese is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Japanese over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Japanese Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

    Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Japanese Calendar.

    Did you know ふく (fuku) means clothes in Japanese?

    did you know ふく (fuku) means clothes in Japanese?

    Here are some words picked by Risa:

    • ズボン trousers, pants
    • 半袖 short-sleeved
    • 長袖 long-sleeved

    Learn more words about clothes!

    Click here and learn more with Risa!

    P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Japanese with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
    The Daily Dose of Japanese is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Japanese over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Japanese Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

    Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Japanese Calendar.

    Did you know 何名様ですか。 (Nan-mei-sama desu ka?) means ‘How many people?’

    Did you know 何名様ですか。 (Nan-mei-sama desu ka?) means 'How many people?'

    When you go out in Japan you can expect to be asked this phrase.

    This is the polite way of asking how many people are in your party. When responding, instead of using the term 名様 (mei-sama) you should say (number of people) plus 人 (nin).

    三人です。(San-nin desu.): Three people.

    P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Japanese with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
    The Daily Dose of Japanese is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Japanese over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Japanese Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

    Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Japanese Calendar.